photo by Phil Swanson (winter)
L 8″ (20 cm).
Song or calls:
Sharp high-pitched “twick,” sometimes given in a series.
Description: Sexes similar. Breeding adults show mottled rusty head, mantle, and breast; feathers on the back are black with rusty edges; white belly. Winter plumage is the palest of all sandpipers: pale gray above and white below with black legs and bill. A bold white wing stripe shows in flight.
Habitat: Migrants found on sandy shorelines, sand flats, and salt-encrusted flats. Usually not associated with muddy shorelines.
Where in Nebraska: Rare to occasional spring and fall migrant in eastern and central parts of the state. Rarer in the west.
Field Notes: Sanderlings can be quite tame, as incubating birds can be observed from as close as two to three feet.
Fun Facts: Sanderlings are often seen running the shoreline chasing receding waves and running from water when it returns. Males and females often incubate separate clutches and care for young separately.